Sunday, September 23, 2012

Down the Injury Spiral

It's been a while since I first realized I was injured. Early July.

There was some bad behavior for a few weeks. I was cranky. And still eating like I was training for a marathon. And not exercising as much. And not sleeping as well. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It became painfully obvious that I could not run Marine Corps. Even if I got better quickly, I wasn't going to have enough time to train properly.

Not gonna lie. It was really hard to back out of a race. I have never backed out of a race. Knowing it was the right decision didn't make it any easier.

In some ways, I was relieved. I didn't have a training schedule I have to stick to. I like sleeping in on Saturday morning and having all of Saturday to do things. I didn't have to go running in the hot humid summer. I had a decent amount of traveling recently, and I hadn't adjusted my schedule to accommodate being on the road.

But in some ways, I was worried. Running is one of my mental health strategies. I know I am crankier without running. Yes, I am still exercising, but it is different than running. Other activities don't produce the same endorphins. I was not sleeping as well. I couldn't keep eating like I was training for a marathon when I was not, in fact, training for a marathon. I added some extra fluff (still within my normal weight range, and I probably had a few pounds to add back from my spring training cycle). However, it took me from early July to now to get my my eating in check and to stop the scale from slowly creeping up.

Part of the mental health thing is exactly that. Mental. Your attitude has a lot to do with how you feel. No, you cannot always be in complete control of your attitude. But you can be aware of it and try to change it. In some ways, it is very much like a skill that you practice in long-distance running. Tell the negative thoughts to shut up and focus on the positive (say, for example, mile 18 of the Chicago Marathon) where I realized I wasn't going to reach my A day goal and decided to focus on going after a PR and getting more bang for my buck by being out on the course longer). OK, so I'm not getting my running endorphins. Moping about it won't make things better. Yes, it is OK to miss running. Especially now that we are getting hints of fall. I know it is in my long-term best interest to not run at the moment. Now, I am OK with that. Really.

I cannot control being able to run or not. I can control how I feel about that.

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